Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another day of geese galore! 29.1.2014

A routine day completing a goose count along with colleagues covering other sectors. Repeatedly seeing large groups of geese is always awe inspiring and I never lose the thrill of witnessing the lifting of a huge cloud of birds, the cacophony, the sheer control of individual groups of birds as they rise and manage to avoid one another, and the eventual symmetry as they depart in more organized skeins.  That happened with Barnacle Geese several times as they appeared very "skittish" and unsettled.

As I've said before, goose counting leaves little opportunity for "other birding en route" , but inevitably odd sightings crop up. Rather few, it must be said, as far as yesterday was concerned!   A covey of  17-20 Red-legged Partridge ( released birds ) were nonetheless a nice surprise, a close-by Sparrowhawk in  horizontal flight were the highlights, afraid so.  Redwings and Fieldfares appear to have cleared out, but numbers of Blackbirds in excess of our breeding numbers are around. Evidence of finch flocks is also somewhat minimal and centred  largely around stock yards.  One encouraging aspect was to see numbers of Reed Buntings amongst these.

Throughout the day my thoughts repeatedly turned to a past colleague, Jonathan Osborne, whose death was reported yesterday. Certainly the clouds of geese would have met with his approval!!!  His tenure at the RSPB,  his passion for the Isle of May and his visits to Cyprus, besides his cooking, particularly curries, will be remembered by many!!